In today’s highly technological world, coding becomes a basic literacy skill among kids. They need to understand how the technology around them works in order to be prepared for the future. Apart from digital benefits, kids have better chances to reach academic success if they can code. Experts say that coding helps to improve mathematics and writing skills as well as become better problem solvers. It can also boost both logical and creative thinking as there is a chance to design something completely novel.
What’s more, learning to code helps to develop resilience in kids. As bugs occur very often, children need to try again and again after numerous failures if they want to succeed. Coding can be a big challenge that teaches to find a learning opportunity in any mistake. As you see, teaching kids to code may bring a lot of benefits. The question is how to explain to kids what coding is like and inspire them to gain a new skill?
Start with writing an essay on programming
The best way to introduce a new learning activity to children is to make research on it together with them. If they don’t know anything about programming, you can start with a small project about this topic. Ask children to share their thoughts on how they imagine coding. They can write a short essay or find information on Studyclerk and discuss whether their own assumptions were right. Such thought-provoking activities can stimulate their interest in the upcoming activity. Also, having a basic understanding of what coding is like prepares children for the challenges they may face.
What is Scratch?
Scratch is a programming language recommended for kids over the age of 8 that was created by the MIT Media Lab. For younger children, there is even an alternative version of Scratch. It’s called ScratchJr and it can be used by kids aged 5-7 as it’s even simpler and more intuitive.
Since it is completely visual, one doesn’t need to write the code while using it. Kids do programming with the help of a drag-and-drop interface. Scratch allows users to create interactive games by connecting colorful code blocks together. That’s why it doesn’t look like a coding language at first glance. However, in 2020, Scratch became the 19th most popular programming language in the world as the Tiobe ranking included it in the top 20 world’s programming languages.
If you would like to know what else is special about Scratch and how it differs from other programming languages, keep reading the article!
Creating interactive stories
This introductory coding language allows children to create original interactive stories. While developing a narrative for their game, kids can also practice storytelling. This way, learning code gets more engaging and fun. Children like using this platform because it’s very personalizable. This means they can manually create a set of their own characters, called ‘sprites’, and play with them. What’s more, they can draw their own designs for background and use various effects, including animation.
Using a simple interface
A big advantage of Scratch for kids is its easy-to-use interface. It’s divided into three sections, such as a stage area, block palette, and a coding area. It’s important to note that children can also add a section with their own code blocks.
In the stage area, one can see the results of their work, for instance, animations or turtle graphics as well as the list of all sprites thumbnails. Commands from the block palette can be applied to the selected sprites in the coding area.
Joining a safe community
Scratch provides its users with an opportunity to share their projects and get feedback. Therefore, kids often upload their projects to the Scratch online community and discuss them with others. What’s more, they can download someone else’s code and study from it or just add it into their new project.
Users can create so-called project studios, comment and tag others’ works as well as follow community members and keep updated with their activity. As you see, the Scratch community may be a source of inspiration and new knowledge. Moreover, this place is absolutely safe for children as the Scratch team maintains a friendly atmosphere and enforces strict community guidelines.
In general, creating projects in Scratch helps kids to learn basic logical thinking and problem-solving concepts. It teaches them to plan and design as well as improves their artistic and storytelling skills. Apart from preparing kids to study higher-level computer science in the future, using this innovative coding platform can enhance their performance in other subjects like math and science.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Turner is an expert at a leading online writing service. Michael helps students to complete their papers and school projects in Maths and IT. As he is especially interested in coding, Michael also likes to share his knowledge about programming on the web.